Introduction to Invisalign® technology
Invisalign® is a proprietary brand of orthodontic clear aligners that are typically prescribed to teenagers and adults who have crooked or misaligned teeth. These innovative devices were initially introduced to the American market in the 1990s, and they have been fully approved by the FDA. Having a nearly invisible texture, these mouthpieces are made of SmartTrack, which is a thermoplastic material that has been specifically engineered to have unique properties for orthodontic application. Synthetic polyurethane and copolyester define the chemical composition of Invisalign. These materials are lightweight yet strong enough to apply pressure to teeth that have to be gradually moved. Invisalign® for adults can provide professionals with the opportunity to improve their smile easily and discreetly.
Early stages of treatment
Adults who have mild to moderate malocclusion may be good candidates for Invisalign® for adults. The simplest cases of teeth crowding and spacing can usually be successfully treated by these orthodontic appliances. Our orthodontist may need to take physical bite impressions of patients to determine the severity of malocclusion. A patient simply needs to bite and hold a tray that’s filled with a gel-like material, which quickly dries up and hardens within a few minutes. To get a more precise profile of a patient’s teeth, we also use the patented iTero™ scanner. This cutting-edge technology generates 3-D images in a virtual software suite that can be viewed on a computer, tablet or even smartphone.
Patients need to switch to new clear aligners at least once per week. Follow-up visits should also be done to ensure that the devices exert the right amount of horizontal, vertical, torsional and rotational force on specific teeth. More than a dozen different Invisalign® pieces might have to be worn in order to correct a typical case of a bad bite, crowding or spacing.
Advantages of Invisalign® for adults over braces
Many orthodontic adult patients choose clear aligners for their aesthetic appeal. These invisible mouthpieces aren’t as obvious as classic metal braces that are bonded to the front surfaces of teeth. The transparent aligners can also be removed before eating and brushing. However, they must be worn for at least 20 hours per day in order to get the proper effects. Additionally, Invisalign® must be occasionally washed and cleaned to prevent staining and other forms of discoloration. Clear aligners cause very little irritation to the gums, tongue and cheeks. By contrast, conventional brackets, arch wires, bands and other metal hardware can create cuts and other minor trauma inside the mouth.
What happens after treatment?
Once an adult patient completes Invisalign® treatment, he or she will have to wear a custom retainer. If it is determined that Invisalign® for adults is the right treatment for you, we can help you learn more about what to expect at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. Contact us today to learn more about orthodontic treatment options such as Invisalign® and braces in Oak Lawn. Book a free consultation!